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Adams Fighting For Big League Role and Injury History

Adams Fighting For Big League Role and Injury History

| On 20, Feb 2014

The Cleveland Indians open the 2014 season with new expectations despite many questions. The Indians’ 25-man roster will look different than the group that won 92 games and lost the American League Wild Card game to the Tampa Bay Rays. While the roster may change and the expectations grow, Cleveland will need to answer many questions this spring before opening the season in Oakland on March 31. Today, we look at one of the Indians’ new players who will be trying to fill a role on the Tribe’s roster.

A label or a reputation is a tough thing to break. For Indians new infielder David Adams, he’s in a battle this spring to fight off one of the most frustrating labels in baseball.

The once high draft pick and prospect of the New York Yankees is trying to fight off the label of being injury prone. Once a prospect in the Yankees’ system, Adams professional career was derailed by three injury riddled seasons. Adams had four brief stints in the big leagues in 2013 with the Yankees and hit just .193, with two home runs in 43 games and 152 plate appearances. He was non-tendered on Dec. 2 by the Yankees and granted his free agency. The Indians signed him on Dec. 13 and added him to the 40-man roster.

It wasn’t long ago, however, that Adams was a top prospect. The Yankees selected him in the third round of the 2008 First Year Player Draft after three strong seasons at the University of Virginia. Adams had a strong 2009, splitting time between New York’s two A-ball levels and asserted himself to Double-A Trenton to start the 2010 season. In just a year and a half, Adams had already reached Double-A and appeared on his way to being a big league second baseman.

However, Adams injured his ankle in 2010 and was sidelined for much of the season. At the trade deadline, the Yankees and Seattle Mariners had a trade in place that would have sent Adams, Zach McAllister and Jesus Montero to Seattle for Cliff Lee. When the Mariners looked at Adams’ medical records, they felt his ankle was broken and the trade was scratched. Seattle traded Lee to the Texas Rangers instead and the Yankees sent McAllister to the Tribe a month later to complete a deal for Austin Kearns.

Adams had injury riddled 2011 and 2012 seasons, too. His ankle continued to bother him in 2011 and he was placed on the disabled list at Double-A Trenton, three times that season. He was only able to play in 29 games. A year later in 2012, Adams suffered from back spasms at Trenton and could only play in 86 games but did hit .306 with eight home runs. After 2012, the Yankees sent him to the Arizona Fall League to try and get back some of his missed at-bats.

Last season, Adams split his season between Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and the Yankees. In 59 games, Adams hit .268 at Triple-A and struggled with New York. He did play games at third base, second base and first base at the big league level.

Now with a new team and trying to shake the label of being injury prone, Adams comes to spring training trying to earn one of the open bench spots on the Indians roster. Adams will fight with a number of players including Jose Ramirez, Elliot Johnson, and Jeff Francoeur for possibly one roster spot.

With Mike Aviles already cemented in as the team’s utility infielder, Carlos Santana trying to prove he can play third base and Ryan Raburn still an infield option, Adams’ battle could be an uphill climb to make the roster. With one minor league option remaining, it’s very likely Adams opens the season in Columbus as the team’s third baseman.

The one time prospect will turn 27-years old on May 15 and will not just be fighting the label of injury prone, but also potentially being known as a 4-A player.

Photo: Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images